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Perhaps I went into it expecting a bit too much having been swept up by
the hype train, but aside from a strong third act and a show stealing
performance by William Sadler, its hard for me to recommend The Hills
Run Red as much more than a movie night rental with friends - even if
it is a cut above your typical direct to video horror flick.
The stories premise revolves around Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink), a film aficionado on the hunt to find a completed print of a lost and legendary 80's slasher film, The Hills Run Red, rumored to be the most brutal and gory little horror gem ever created. Enlisting the help of his girlfriend and best friend, Tyler ventures out into the backwoods in search of the holy grail of gruesome, only to soon discover (as it usually goes with movies in this fine genre of ours) that things aren't quite all that they seem. To say much more would be to potentially give away what story there is and ruin a twist or two that The Hills Run Red works itself up to in the first hour of run time.
Many have compared THRR to a cross between Scream and Wrong Turn, but I'm more inclined to argue it has more in common with John Carpenter's Masters of Horror Episode, Cigarette Burns, than the aforementioned Wed Craven franchise. Fans of the now defunct Showtime series will immediately recognize the not too subtle similarities in the story between Cigarette Burns and THRR, as well as the over the top gore sequences which stand out as big pluses in both films (even if shoddy CGI threatens to ruin a few scenes in the latter). Furthermore, despite being somewhat of a love letter to the horror genre, THRR never quite goes as far in its self awareness and fan boy masturbation as Scream, and quite honestly, this movie is much better off for it. Aside from that, there isn't anything done particularly well here, or at least not better than anything you haven't already seen in any of the source material the film pays homage to. Even the movie's protagonist, "Babyface," looks a bit too inspired by the killer in Dark Ride.
On a positive note, the movie's hands down highlight is William Sadler (most will remember him as Death in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey), who absolutely steals every scene he is in, even if he isn't given enough to do as the lost film's, reclusive and maniacal director. Sadler alone makes the film worth watching, though I'd be hard pressed to recommend The Hills Run Red as more than a rental to be enjoyed with a few friends and a couple of beers. Like other recent direct to video slashers like Hatchet and Laid to Rest, this one comes with a lot of promise but does little to separate itself from the rest of the crop.
Review by Mr. Chainsaw For more of the best genre film reviews, news, opinion articles, and forums, check out www.FromDuskTillCon.com.
Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink), a film student, hopes to track down a
legendary film, the titular "Hills Run Red", which was lost and is
rumored to be the most violent horror film ever. He finds Alexa (pop
star Sophie Monk), the director's daughter, and they go on a hunt to
the very heart of cinematic evil.
Director Dave Parker (best known for Full Moon's "The Dead Hate the Living!") has done it, making the film of his career. I don't mean to discourage Parker from making more films, but I find it hard to believe he could match this level of intensity again. The action, the violence, the gore... as far as slashers go, this was the pinnacle. There were a few good ones in the past few years ("Hatchet" was alright, "Behind the Mask" was very good, "Hack" was amazing). This may be the best yet.
For horror fans in my generation, the last great decade for horror was the 1980s. Anything since then has been largely rubbish. In "Hills Run Red", we have people who know this, that emulating the 80s is the best way to make a successful and enjoyable picture. The added story of tracking down an obscure film from the 80s is even better.
You may think the slasher film is dead, especially if your name is Adam Rockoff. But the "Friday the 13th" remake tried to prove otherwise, and this film sealed the deal. The days of "torture porn" are coming to an end, though "Hills" does give a nod to that subgenre, too. The only thing missing is the hand-held subgenre, but I can personally do without that, as I can only recall one good film of that sort (Ruggero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust").
I have to point out this is William Sadler's darkest role ever, and he plays it well. Quite a difference from Death in "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey". But the real honor goes to Sophie Monk (who, I can personally attest, is a sweetheart). She plays a stripper, a heroin addict, the daughter of a demented auteur. With a past in pop music, this is a big departure and she rides it like a pro. While I don't suspect Sophie will be a horror regular, she'd be welcome if she wanted to come back.
See this movie. Worth owning, but if nothing else, rent it. Great addition to any collection, this is what horror fans crave.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, the opening of "the hills run red" is pretty good but from there on I was constantly wondering what the hell the director was trying to do. Honestly with a title like this you can only expect a spoof movie and the whole stupid idea of a horror fan following the legend of a 20 year old horror movie that never aired because its so sick and the director got lost while filming... well, kind of reminded me of CigaretteBurns meets Chainsaw Massacre meets DarkRide (because the killer Babyface looked exactly like the killer in that movie). Funny thing is that there is no real reference to "the hills have eyes" and the spoof I was expecting is kind of there because there are many hints to horror clichés like the non-functioning mobile phones and a whole monologue about the stupidity of horror movie victims. Anyway this is a pretty ordinary backwoods horror movie with a evil masked killer, a house in the woods and the plot of the director and the movie... and his daughter. You can smell the plot twist from miles away and there is not even much gore except for some scenes that keep repeating. There's regularly strange scenes which are intended to be funny like when the killer just uses a gun instead of wielding a chainsaw or machete. Particularly one scene was so stupid but nevertheless shown so normal I was wondering if that was a joke or just incredibly ridiculous (considering this is a horror movie that sure can be considered possible). A girl flees from the killer and ends up in the shed where the corpses of previous murders are stored. She hides in a barrel full of blood and guts until the murder leaves and then cleans herself off and takes a new shirt from one of the corpses to walk back into action barely showing any blood. What the hell... if these scenes were supposed to be funny they made a hell of a job not to have the viewer laugh. I have seen worse movies for sure but if a movie jumps the wagon of a dead repetitive genre with overused clichés and fails like this to be any smart or new (like I said there obviously are dozens of stolen ideas from other movies) you can just watch the opening and the cool trailer of the movie in the movie and spare yourself 90 more minutes of a horror clip show and a lame ending that sums up another annoying thing about "the hills run red". Ridiculously overacted screaming girls... again not quite funny, maybe they were supposed to be. I don't care.
...The Hills Run Red does for torture porn flicks. This horror subgenre has been going downhill for a while now, rapidly losing any kind of semblance of a subtext or deeper meaning and only giving its viewers what a lot of them no doubt crave: meaningless and increasingly graphic gore. That the genre got to the point of self-reflexivity may be a good sign - perhaps the dumb torture porn wave is ready to disappear from the mainstream (though the fact that this film is straight-to-DVD might not get it the recognition it deserves). This is not Haneke territory, though - nor it should be -, nevertheless The Hills Run Red provides a nice sarcastic commentary on the shock- and blood-craze of recent mainstream horror cinema. Its philosophy, albeit none too deep, provides a refreshing change of course from similar films. (And dare I say makes its point just as powerfully as the so-called "auteurs" do with their not much subtler films about violence, who get a nice stab in the movie - not literally, though.) Directing is skillful for the most part, however, the level of acting gradually becomes way over the top and hysterical, which is a shame. I wonder when horror directors learn that this kind of bad stage acting style just kills the atmosphere. Crazy psychos can be much more threatening when they are subdued and quiet. All in all, Hills Run Red is a surprisingly solid horror film with more brain than most flicks in its genre. It is taut and its brevity is welcome as well. My only problem is that the plot twist in the second act is totally spoiled by the preview material. It's a huge shame, because it works tremendously in the film but of course only if one goes in unsuspecting.
In an age where most horror films are either sequels or remakes; one
should rejoice when original slashers worth a damn pop up.
"The Hills Run Red" has a knockout hook that sets up quite a decent story. A mysterious "lost" slasher film, called "The Hills Run Red", has many horror fans obsessed with finding it. Such is the case with Tyler, a horror buff, who sets out with his friend and girlfriend to visit the film's locations in order to make a documentary. Along for the ride is the film's notorious director's daughter, Alexa, and once on location the group gets to enliven some true horror.
Good story, solid acting and some decent grue ensure "The Hills Run Red" has some definite highlights and the first half works very well. Present are the irritating "fast-cuts" that have invaded all horror films, it seems, but a decent atmosphere is built and the old "woods-scenario" in slashers never fails when well executed.
A fair amount of jokes and "rulebreakers" enter the film and work surprisingly well (the cell phone bit and the gun (guns are never present in slasher films)) and avoid going over the top. But despite the short running time the film loses steam and goes for one ending too many; both of which aren't too good (don't turn off after the first end credits appear).
"The Hills Run Red" is a solid slasher film for fans of the genre. Most can appreciate the fact that many things are well done here, the film remains faithful to the genre while poking fun at some obvious faults inherent with it and it's quite the gory feast as well. The only ones yawning are not slasher fans to begin with, I think.
Going by the DVD cover and title alone, The Hills Run Red looks like
it's just capitalizing on the success of The Hills Have Eyes remake
from 2006. So going into the film, that's pretty much what I was
expecting. Since it's a horror film that was released straight to DVD,
expectations should never be high since they're usually released that
way for a reason. Surprisingly though, that wasn't the case this time
around as this turned out to be a pretty solid little horror flick. The
film winds up bearing little resemblance to the Alexandre Aja directed
The Hills Have Eyes as it delivers a fairly original concept and a
satisfying experience overall.
The film will pretty much reel any horror fan in with the opening sequence as the atmosphere for the film is set up early on and doesn't shy away from blood and gore. Lack of nudity and sexual content isn't an issue either as there is plenty of that to go around. With all that in mind, this pretty much has everything any horror fan could ask for already: lots of blood and tons of T&A. The acting is also a bar above what you're probably expecting for a release like this. To be honest, it's pretty decent and there really isn't much to complain about in that department. Although, I do think William Sadler steals the show but he's also probably the only recognizable actor in the film. Babyface actually turned out to be quite sadistic and better than his origin let on. When you're shown how he got his name and who he really is, it's kind of lame at first. The concept eventually grows on you though and is pretty original as far as serial killers from slasher films go.
If you ever saw Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, one of its peaks was that it not only pointed out cliché moments in other horror films and dissected them but also wound up breaking most of them while going in a different direction. The Hills Run Red touches on this a bit, as well. Some examples are cell phones actually work out in secluded areas, a gun is brought just in case they run into trouble, and flares are brought in case flashlights don't work. Horror movies need to be as fresh as possible as it seems like just about everything has been done, which is probably one of the reasons remakes are so popular right now. It's just refreshing to see a movie not follow the same generic formula.
You can't always rely on your first impression as The Hills Run Red seemed like nothing more than a copycat horror film that was rushed straight to DVD. In all actuality, however, it turns out to be a sexy, blood-splattering wet dream for horror fans with a better than expected storyline, above par acting, and what could be a new face in the horror franchise. If you like films like this, give this one a go. You may be pleasantly surprised and be sure to catch the extra scene in the middle of the credits at the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I already had high hopes for this one, since I had seen a couple of
really good reviews on it. I was not disappointed..
Great script with some really unexpected turns, an overall unsettling mood, effective gore and scary jump-out-of-your-seat moments. The cast is also really good. William Sadler is best known for playing the bad guy (Hard To Kill, Die Hard 2) and here he is also in top performance. I also really enjoyed the rest of the cast. Babyface will get a second chance, because be honest: a sequel will be made within 2 years at the top. His name will eventually be just like: Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees etc. But that's OK, if the sequel is half as good as the original, it will still be a good movie. Not to missed by anyone who likes scary movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(No significant spoilers, actually) This movie is really, really bad.
Even if you tell me the Budget was 1.5 million, It's a waste.
Straight-to-DVD is the only destiny this flawless film could deserve,
despite it should had never be done.
First of all: it violates one of the main principles of every decent movie (including of course Horror movies), which consist on revealing the kind of movie it is and settle the film's tone and climate at the first 5 minutes. The Hills Run Red, by the contrary, is a Horror, Slasher film, with no murders, neither violence, during the first 30 minutes! Not even any kind of intense darkness (unless you consider a short scene of a stripper using heroine is dark and intense for a Horror film of the 21th Century).
Second: the acting is awful!!! Almost annoying. The exception is Sadler (who nearly doesn't appear in the first half of the movie).
The plot is garbage. The altruistic way the stripper, Tyler's cheating girlfriend, and Tyler's traitor "friend" decide to help him with his crusade is simply ridiculous. The reaction of Tyler to the cheating and the betrayal suggests that producer's dog ate some pages of the script. Then you have some pathetic attempts to gain depth with far-fetched dialogues explaining incest and ambition issues (similar to the villain exposing his plans to the hero in cartoons), combined with revelation of artificial "pervert" behaviors linked to sadistic filming and monsters breeding.
The killings, the ways the good ones escape, and the tricks of the bad ones, are all extremely artificial (but not even filmed in a comic way: just artificial boring garbage). And the "gore" scenes are less interesting and less intense than in Hostel.
In addition, the Topic of the movie (obsession, and all the things you may sacrifice for it) is tackled in a soft, dull way. And the most interesting character, Concannon, has a too secondary role.
The positive: a little bit of nudity from Sophie Monk (strange face, lovely tits; forget about a long scene building a really sexy climate: just flawless nudity), a nice sex scene with Janet Montgomery, and a scene with a short dark moment of son-mother love (normal love, not incest).
The 5,5 IMDb users' rating is extremely generous, unfair. Even in Cinema Terror and Bloody Good Horror it gets 3/10. The 5,5 rating is obviously inflated by radical Fanatics of Slasher sub-culture. Indeed, for example, one of the reviewers who rated the film with an unbelievable 8 (eight!!!!) stated himself "t's a great movie for film geeks and horror buffs all around, and a sly poke at the gore-nography sub genre culture." Trivia: the Director, the Screenwriters and some of the actors has (before and after this movie) no films career.
Hmm, I definitely second what my pal and fellow reviewer TheatreX stated in his user comment! I am a devoted fan of horror genre as well and I also get a kick out of tracking down hidden gems that are extremely obscure or even considered "lost", but after seeing this film, I must make a mental note to never ever go and fanatically seek for lost backwoods slashers myself! That is what the basic plot of "The Hills Run Red" is all about. Tyler is a horror fan and amateur documentary maker obsessed with the idea of finding a horror film that was taken out of circulation shortly after its release, allegedly because it was too shocking and gruesome, as well as the director Wilson Wyler Concannon who mysteriously vanished as well. He convinces two friends and even the director's daughter, who nowadays is a heroin junkie and works as a stripper, to drive out to the middle of nowhere region where the movie was shot in the early 80's. Deep down in those backwoods, the foursome discovers that the film is real and never fully got completed. The maniacal killer from the trailer, referred to as Babyface, still prowls the area and butchers all trespassers in horribly painful ways. "The Hills Run Red", from director Dave Parker who previously made the hugely entertaining zombie flick "The Dead Hate the Living!" comes as a pleasant and refreshing little surprise in the overall worn out slasher genre. Especially the first half is compelling and innovative; at least if you're an obsessive horror fan yourself like I explained here above. All the little bits and footage and trivia details of the inexistent lost horror movie are truly fascinating. Supposedly "The Hills Run Red" revolved about a killer who cut off his own face as a child, because his stepfather said he was ugly, and replaced it with a doll mask. Director W.W. Concannon was a reputed freak who used real blood from a nearby slaughterhouse and hired a local retard to play the killer. The second half, meaning as soon as the main characters are confronted with the killer and have to run for their lives, feels a lot more like familiar slasher territory again with some implausible and grotesque plot twists as well as a few derivative clichés. Nevertheless, even then "The Hills Run Red" still transcends the majority of backwoods slashers because it literally oozes with perversion and sheer nastiness. The film is chock- full of macabre set pieces, harsh gore, lurid sleaze and vicious undertones like incest and mutilation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't these trademarks exactly what the horror genre is all about? Add to all this a creepy horror lullaby that continuously gets repeated ("Hush, little baby, don't say a word ") and a downright depressing climax and you got yourself perhaps even a future classic. The basic premise is reminiscent to the John Carpenter's Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns", but it's more properly elaborated and a lot more identifiable, and it was fun seeing B-movie veteran William Sadler star in gloriously demented role again. Recommended.
I could not stop watching this movie and really I never wanted it to
end. From the opening titles beautifully underscored by a very creepy
sounding version of "Hush little baby" this film dragged me in with is
beautiful style and how creepy it was (I'm not gonna give away the
first scare but it's incredibly well done and while at first seems
random and pointless they do explain why it's there towards the end.
The story uses one of the new standards of horror cinema, the idea of a movie that was made in the 80's but had to stop production due to murders on set. While this isn't a new concept, Cut did it 9 years ago, both the Short film and the feature length with the same title played on the idea of horror films becoming reality, it is a refreshing spin on the tale.
The cast consists of your stock set of horror film characters, from the junkie to the slutty girl but really if you come to a horror movie for characters then you really don't belong here. This film is about the scares, and they come rapid fire.
Sophie Monk in particular delivers a performance that I never thought I'd see her deliver after I saw Date Movie. She makes you love her from the moment she pop's on screen and you root for her the whole way through. She proves how smart she can be with choosing a role with her performance in here and really I reckon if she chooses more roles like this she'll prove she's an actress and not just a great body.
For you gore-hounds, there's blood and gore galore from pretty much start to finish. One of the things that this film does better than a lot of others like it is make the gore scary. Some times you can tell that gore is there just cos they can but that doesn't happen here. Every piece of blood is needed to make the story work like it does and add's to the effectiveness of the movie.
If you can get a copy of this movie do it, don't sit around and wait for a friend to loan it to you go and get it now. One of the few films I really wanna see a sequel for.
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